Note from the Author: Strap in for the over-caffeinated thoughts from the author, Joe Johnson, who is stream of consciousness posting about this, and really every story he covers. Like everything, there are multiple facets to this story that we should talk about to figure out what the hell is going on at TCO this off-season. What’s next? Adam Thielen retires early after uppercutting Paul Allen?
It’s been a long and strange off-season, in general, thanks to the unexpected nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s been even stranger for the Minnesota Vikings, who just a few short months ago had two superstar wide receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, as well as arguably the best running back in the NFL in Dalvin Cook locked down for another season and on the precipice of cashing in on his monster 2019 season.
That was then.
Now? Diggs is in Buffalo pretending to be happy that Josh Allen is going to be throwing him the ball (I use the term “throwing” loosely), and Cook is starting the earliest hold out in NFL history (as team activities aren’t set to start for awhile, so, maybe he’s sitting out of conference calls and retweets?).
Beyond the precarious nature of Cook’s holdout, there’s the news that apparently the Vikings organization had zero idea that Cook was going to hold out in the first place. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin (who is always spot on with her sources) said:
“Sources I’ve spoken wih had no clue this was coming out. So they’re kind of like what the heck is going on here”
You can listen to Cronin’s entire interview on Purple Daily (one of the awesome SKOR North podcasts that we’re also hosting on our MN Sports Podcast only platform, purpleTERRITORYradio.com!)
That’s not the sort of thing you want to hear from the team you’re holding out on. I know, holding out is an aggressive negotiation tactic, and you wouldn’t think that the player or their agent would send some sort of “Save the Date” doilie. But, there’s also some value in doing things the right way and if you’re going to piss off the team that is, more and more (in my humble opinion) NOT on the same page in terms of what you think your value is, then you might just have actually hurt your chances at getting what you want.
Case in point, Cronin added that the Vikings are in “no rush” to reach a new deal with Cook, as they believe they hold most of the leverage. That’s not necessarily true, as Cook very well could sit out the 2020 campaign, although it’d hurt his bottom line tremendously.
It just seems odd to me that these superstar players are this combative with the Vikings organization. Something seems amiss, here, as you could write off Diggs’ situation as Diggs being Diggs, as the Vikings did until Buffalo offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse, but when you have another superstar essentially screaming “I’M HOLDING OUT” in early June? This way? With the team essentially finding out when the rest of us did?
Something might be amiss in Eagan.
There have long been rumors and talks of “Toxic leadership” in the Zimmer/Spielman regime, most of which was chalked up as sour grapes from the father of a former bench warmer in Rhett Ellison. Sure, Zimmer had Greenway and company sit down and talk to him about being a less abrasive coach a few seasons ago and that seemed to be the least we’d heard of that, but Zimmer has continued to be open with the media and perhaps these Millennial players can’t handle the old school mentality?
VikingsTerritory.com contributor (I can’t believe I’m typing that) Mike Tice of ‘Odds and Ends w/ Mike Tice’ essentially retired from the NFL because, as he put it, “Players don’t want to be coached anymore”. Perhaps that’s the case with the Vikings, although you’d think that players like (especially) Anthony Barr wouldn’t turn down more money to stay here, nor would players like Everson Griffen restructure their deals for the same purpose.
Beyond that, I’m sort of over Dalvin at this point (even if some of our writers think that he’s staying put and this is all just a par for the course negotiation tactic). Sure, I love his talent and I want him on the team… But for a guy that missed 50% of his first TWO SEASONS and missed another two games in 2019, the same year that Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison showed up to implement their zone blocking scheme (which is known for creating 1,000 yard running backs), he’s acting as if he’s been putting up 1,500 yards for three seasons now as opposed to his peak of > 1,100 yards (on the ground) last season.
Sure, he looked fantastic doing it, but when the team says it has the leverage that’s exactly what I think they’re talking about. I’m sure they’re confident (just as another one of our writers thinks the same) that Alexander Mattison would have a similar output to that of Dalvin in 2020 if it comes down to that. On top of it, Mattison was known as a workhorse back at Boise State, one that gets better the more carries he gets.
If Dalvin thinks his 14 game 2019 makes him worth Ezekiel Elliott money, then perhaps this isn’t on Zimmer or Spielman. If anything, it’s just more negative nonsense from the Vikings and it’s players, something we’re all accustomed to as fans of the purple. Keep in mind that none of this, including Diggs’ trade, needed to happen and that we all thought we’d have this talented corps locked in until 2022/23.
So. Breaking News: This sucks regardless of how you break it down. While I do think that Mattison (and Mike Boone) combined would match the output of Cook, who might be too big of a risk to sign for $12m or $13m a season (considering the above)… It’d just be nice if the main stories this off-season weren’t about some of the biggest stars on the team/in the NFL essentially acting out and being relatively selfish considering what is going on in the world.
Keep your eyes peeled for more Vikings news on our network, including our new Minnesota Sports ONLY Podcast site, purpleTERRIORYRadio.com! We have over 30 podcasts being posted daily like the aforementioned ‘Odds and Ends w/ Mike Tice’, ‘About the Labor’, EVERY SKOL North Podcast, Gleeman and the Geek, Locked on Vikings and many, many more!